Antonia Sullivan is the founder and designer of Sprig Knitwear; a handmade knitwear label inspired by old family photographs and childhood nostalgia based in Hampshire, UK. All of their pieces are made with alluring patterns and connected in compelling colours.
I was delighted when Antonia agreed to be part of this Creative Q&A, and I hope you enjoy her answers below...
Sprig Knitwear are a small knitwear label dwelling in the heart of Hampshire, England, UK. They create high quality and charming knitwear using 100% pure lambswool.
Sprig knitwear's concept was born while looking through old family photographs of children growing up during mid-century Britain. These photos were mostly in black and white, yet were filled with delightful patterns and personality. Their knitwear brings these qualities to life with vivid colours and playful decorations.
Describe your creative style in 3 words.
Nostalgic - Playful - Whimsical
What made you decide to set up your business?
I had dabbled in a bit of knitting now and then but it wasn’t until my grandma passed away that I really got quite engrossed into it. First I was hand knitting then once I had my own space my knitting machine came out. I made a snood for a friend and the response I had from people was incredibly positive - a handful of people asked for their own snoods so it went from there really, it just grew into itself.
What are you most proud of so far in your career, any highlights you’d like to share?
That’s really tricky, I’ve always had a good response in regards to my work, but I think my biggest achievement might have to me my new collection, it feels the most refined my work has been and everyone’s really enjoying it - I’ve had way more orders from people and shops then I expected and I just feel like my works going into the right direction and resonated with myself and my style more so.
Which artist or designer inspires you?
Oh gosh, where do I start? I love the work of many people, from Angie Lewin to Charles + Ray Eames through to independent makers from Branwen Knits, Katie Whittaker, Sophie Wiltshire, Jeff Josephine, Fiona Biddington and many, many more!
Favourite tool you use in your creative practice?
My knitting machine! Quite an obvious answer but it’s not like the rest of my practise, it’s rather mesmerising and calming hearing the magnets push the metal needles across the bed, of course there’s always challenges and I have to stay focused when using the machine but it’s most certainly my favourite process.
What top tip would you give to anyone who would like to turn their creative passion into their career?
Take breaks! It takes such a long time to get to a place where you are truly happy with your work, and getting the ball rolling - it can be so frustrating, challenging and disheartening at first which makes it so easy to give up. It’s a big commitment, and you need to be kind to yourself so whenever you feel like giving up - just have a breather instead.
Also, having people to talk to is pretty vital - I’ve had many days, where I’ve been exhausted and wanted to give up - I’m really lucky to have the support I do, who often say ‘you need a break for a couple of weeks’.
Also bouncing ideas of - seeing other peoples reactions can really help you to make final decisions.
What are you reading now?
I’ve just finished Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, it was a good read but not my favourite.
What music are you listening to at work/in your studio?
At the moment I’m really enjoying listening to This Is Kit, they are just lovely!
First app you open on your phone in the morning?
Usually Facebook Messenger or Instagram.
I do love a good ale - Fuller’s Brewery make Red Fox every autumn, it’s my absolute favorite.
Favourite flower or plant?
Oh that’s tricky! I love all sorts but I always get excited by the blossoms on a Horse Chestnut Tree.
Are you named after anyone?
I’m named after my Grandad - Tony. So if I was a born a boy, I would still be a Tony. Unfortunately I never had the chance to meet him.
Tea or Coffee?
Tea, I love drinking Chai in the autumn / winter too.
Summer or Winter?
I think after the summer we’ve had I’m going to have to say Winter. It’s easier to keep warm then it is to stay cool… especially when you have a house filled with knitwear and wool!
Red or Green?
Ah so tricky, I love the boldness of red but I love soft greens too. I think it would have to be red - I wear a lot of red…